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French court clears Iberdrola and EDF-led offshore wind arrays

Delayed projects off west coast totalling 1.5GW now expected to start production in 2022-23

The Conseil d’Etat, France’s supreme court in administrative matters, has rejected appeals against the Iberdrola-led Saint-Brieuc offshore wind project and the EDF-led Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp projects, which jointly have a capacity of nearly 1.5GW.

The Iberdrola-led Ailes Marine consortium said Saint-Brieuc now is ready to start construction in 2021. EDF and its Canadian and German partners - Enbridge and Wpd - have previously said they expect Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp to start operating in 2022.

Ailes Marine and the EDF/Enbridge/Wpd consortium had won the right to build the projects already in a tender in 2012, but it had since been delayed due to a lengthy process of appeals.

“Ailes Marines and its shareholders (Iberdrola, RES and Caisse des Dépôts) have learned with great satisfaction of the decision of the Council of State concerning the offshore wind project of Saint-Brieuc,” the consortium said in a statement.

“This excellent news for the industrial sector reinforces the solidity of the project, whose development continues according to the announced programme, with a start of construction in 2021 and a commissioning in 2023 ."

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The appeals against Saint-Brieuc now rejected had been handed in by an environmental protection association and a rival company, which the Council of State, however, agreed to be compensated for wrongly having been evicted from the selection process of the tender in 2012.

The court condemned the state to pay the company Nass & Wind an compensation of €2.5m for irregularities during the tender.

Ailes-Marine early last year had been granted to change the turbine model planned for Saint-Brieuc from the 8MW Adwen AD8-180 to the same-nameplate Siemens Gamesa D8 model.

EDF stressed that Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp are based on extensive environmental studies and consultations conducted over more than 10 years by the consortium with local communities, inhabitants, fishermen, environmental associations, as well as other local actors of economic and social development.

The Council of State last month had already given a final green light for the construction of the EDF-led 480MW Saint Nazaire offshore wind project off the Atlantic coast that had also been held up by lengthy court challenges.

"With four projects under development, the EDF Group is consolidating its leading position in offshore wind power in France and a major player in Europe," said Bruno Bensasson, chief executive of EDF Renewables. "

"These large-scale projects are fully in line with EDF's Cap 2030 strategy, which aims to double the Group's installed renewable energy capacity worldwide by 2030 to 50,000 MW. "

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